Self Reflection and Accepting Responsibility

_DSC9522LRLife is a snake pit, full of dangers, enemies, and sometimes people who always look to blame others for their unhappiness.  I used to be one of these people, consumed with who did what, and why, and it’s not my fault, and I was so miserable.  Once, a therapist gave me a poem, and it was life changing, although I didn’t realize it at the time:

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

–Portia Nelson

I am writing this on the 11th anniversary of getting fired from my job on Capital Hill.  It was the most devastating and embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me.  I felt I was defined by what I did for a living, and I had been working full time since I was 17, right out of high school.  I am talking about a grown up job, commuting and working in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, otherwise known as Metro.  I was hired as a clerk-typist, making $10,000 per year.

No college for me.  No parents providing a free ride while I went to school full-time.  I went to college part-time at night for years, after working a full-time job all day, jobs I hated, but they paid the bills.  Two nights a week after getting home from work, I went and sat in a college class room, most often from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., because I bought into all of that corporate bullshit that said you had to have a college degree to be promoted in the government and private industry.

Unfortunately, my time ran out and I got fired exactly ten months before I graduated from the University of Maryland, University College with a degree in Business Management.  Trust me, I knew the writing was on the wall, and being the good, safe, alwaysdotherightthing type of girl, I was hell bent on staying in the government, getting my leave and my retirement transferred to another government job.

 I felt I had no other options.

Trust me when I tell you my confidence was shattered.


I was a miserable employee and I’m sure I made everyone else miserable around me.  There was a lot of other shit that went down, but I’m not here to talk about what anyone else did.


Without that, there is no healing, no moving on.

When you are always caught up in blaming everyone else for your unhappiness, you are paralyzed, caught in your own spider web, and it’s really pathetic, and seriously unflattering.

Who wants to be around that?


The same thing happened with my marriage.  I was 28, and I knew he wasn’t “the guy” but I got married anyway, and within two years, it was over.  He moved on to another woman, who got pregnant, and he got the son he always wanted, and I had to let him go and be with her.

I had unrealistic expectations of who he was and what he could do.  That was totally unfair of me to put that burden on him.

I processed my contribution to the demise of our marriage and let it go.  I was 30 years old.

I’m not saying it was easy or that it didn’t take a long time.  It did.

The most important things I learned were:

You can’t change anyone.  If you feel someone needs to change, you need to move on.

It always takes two.

No one person is 100% at fault.

This entry was posted in Everyday Life, Portfolio.

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